Top player in the NHL on Wednesday
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Things are going well for the Boston Bruins right now. Tuukka Rask is back in the mix, the team is playing its best hockey of the season overall, and Brad Marchand is on a roll offensively. He recorded a hat trick in the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night and extended his goal scoring streak to four consecutive games. That streak includes three consecutive multiple goal games. Overall, he has eight goals over the Bruins’ past four games and is now up to 19 goals and 39 total points in 28 games for the season. He remains one of the elite offensive players and best all-around players in the NHL.
Highlights from around the NHL on Wednesday
All three of Marchand’s goals on Wednesday, including two just 15 seconds apart in the first period.
It took only 50 seconds for the Dallas Stars to open the scoring against the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night.
Ryan Dzingel gets an assist from the glass behind the net to open the scoring for the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.
Three takeaways from the NHL on Wednesday
Montreal returns to the same result
The Montreal Canadiens were back on the ice for the first time in nearly two weeks and they returned to the same result — a loss. Not only a loss, but it was the sixth time in their past seven games they allowed at least four goals. Making matters worse, starting goalie Jake Allen left the game due to injury late in the first period. The Canadiens have been decimated this season by injuries and COVID-19 issues, not to mention their offseason free agency departures, and the results have been wildly disappointing following their shocking Stanley Cup Final run a year ago. Their loss, combined with the Arizona Coyotes win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, has Montreal in last place in the NHL standings by points percentage.
Stars keep making climb as Joe Pavelski shines
The Dallas Stars have been the most wildly inconsistent team in the league this season, alternating lengthy winning and losing streaks all season. After losing five games in a row in early December, the Stars have responded by winning five of their past six thanks to Wednesday’s big win over the Seattle Kraken. The only loss during this recent stretch was that wild game in St. Louis where they allowed two goals in the final 46 seconds of regulation to drop a 2-1 decision. This current stretch has them right back in the thick of the Wild Card race in the Western Conference. Joe Pavelski was the big offensive star on Wednesday for Dallas, recording a five-point game (two goals, three assists) in the win. He now has a seven-game point streak that has seen him tally 14 points during that stretch. He now has 35 points in 32 games for the season and has been close to a point-per-game player for the past two seasons.
Another strong showing for Karel Vejmelka
The Arizona Coyotes stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday with a 2-1 upset win in the desert. It would not have been possible without an outstanding showing from starting goalie Karel Vejmelka who stole the show by stopping 45 out of 46 shots. It is already the third game this season (in only 20 appearances) where he has made at least 45 saves in a game. He is 2-1-0 in those three starts. Ryan Dzingel scored both goals in the win for Arizona, while Auston Matthews scored a goal in his ninth consecutive road game for the Maple Leafs.
Thursday’s big story
Sticking with the Bruins for another night as Tuukka Rask makes his season debut against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins are rolling right now and now they have their franchise goalie back in the mix after he signed a one-year, $1 million deal on Tuesday. The Bruins are 9-3-2 over their past 14 games and are now back solidly in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. They play a Flyers team that is mired in another slump, entering the game having lost five games in a row.
Wednesday’s NHL Scores
Boston Bruins 5, Montreal Canadiens 1
Dallas Stars 5, Seattle Kraken 2
Arizona Coyotes 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers (Postponed)
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.